Ernie Johnson May 26, 2022; San Francisco, California, USA; TNT commentator Ernie Johnson Jr. interviews Golden State Warriors forward Draymond Green (23) after winning game five of the 2022 western conference finals against the Dallas Mavericks at Chase Center. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

The upcoming NBA media rights deal is poised to be one of the biggest stories in sports media this year. The ripple effects might be wide-ranging, more than we even think now. One aspect that could be altered is the future of the hit show Inside the NBA. Would Ernie Johnson make the move away from WBD if they lost the rights? It doesn’t sound like it.

EJ has been the host of Inside the NBA for decades. The show is easily TNT’s crown jewel and the best pregame sports show in the land. There are few who argue this, and it can be argued that Inside is just as integral to the NBA as the games themselves. But change could be afoot. NBC is reportedly serious about taking the media rights in the new deal, which could squeeze WBD out.

Should that happen, it doesn’t sound like Johnson is prepared to make a move elsewhere.

Sports Business Journal reported on Thursday that while the pending rights leave the future in doubt, Johnson is currently committed to staying in Atlanta.

The report indicates Johnson would stay on to provide a studio presence for the NCAA Tournament and Major League Baseball. “Loyalty” has been presented as one of the prominent reasons, if not the most prominent reason he’d choose to stay with WBD.

The sports world, though, was dismayed by this news, if the reactions that poured out were any indication.


About Chris Novak

Chris Novak has been talking and writing about sports ever since he can remember. Previously, Novak wrote for and managed sites in the SB Nation network for nearly a decade from 2013-2022